Newcastle host Sheffield United in the first of Sunday’s Premier League fixtures at 14:00.
The visitors took part in the first Premier League match since the return from the Coronavirus-enforced lockdown on Wednesday evening, drawing 0-0 with Aston Villa in a largely dull affair.
Although the Blades were cruelly and somewhat farcically denied a goal on the stroke of half-time when Oliver Norwood’s in-swinging free-kick was clearly carried over the line by opposing goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, they otherwise created very few clear-cut chances while restricting Villa to only a couple themselves.
I expect this match to follow a similar pattern as these are two of the more defensively organised sides in the division, with both managers deploying a back five.
Indeed, neither side even average one goal at either end in their respective home and away matches, so it’s tough to envisage a goal-fest, especially without a raucous home crowd to galvanise a fairly limited Newcastle outfit.
A second consecutive 0-0 for Sheff Utd looks a very real possibility, then, with 1-0 either way and 1-1 also likely outcomes in my view, so I’m opting for Under 4 Goals here to allow a little bit of wriggle room.
With that said, given the potential forthcoming cash-rich Saudi takeover at Newcastle, and the fact he has already steered his side away from any realistic relegation trouble, I do expect Steve Bruce to try to get his side on the front foot a little more than before the break in order to attempt to showcase his long-term qualities as Newcastle manager.
On Wednesday, Villa enjoyed 12 corners against Sheff Utd despite only having 45% possession, so you’d expect Newcastle to be able to earn their fair share here, too, with set-pieces likely to be their best chance of breaking Sheff Utd down.
I’m more than happy to add Over 0 Corners in each half for Newcastle to the equation, then.
While cards have dropped since the restart so far, David Coote referees this one and only in three of the last 20 matches (15%) he’s overseen has he not shown both sides at least one card.
The match may lack individual quality at times, but I expect a physical battle nonetheless, and the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron can draw fouls for the hosts.
Newcastle average two cards per home game, while Sheff Utd average slightly over two cards per away game, so I’ll tentatively back both sides to pick up Over 0 Cards to bring our BetBuilder to an even-money shot.
So to recap, my BetBuilder for Newcastle v Sheff Utd is Under 4 Goals for Both Teams Combined, Over 0 Cards for Newcastle, Over 0 Cards for Sheff Utd, and Over 0 Corners in both halves for Newcastle at odds of 1/1 (evens).